Fastbreak: Florida slides by South Carolina 72-68

Florida Gators basketball (8-6, 1-0 SEC) bounced back from a tough end to its non-conference slate to earn a closer-than-it-should-have-been 72-68 victory over the surging South Carolina Gamecocks (9-4, 0-1 SEC) on Wednesday evening at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina.

“The thing that was encouraging to me was I felt like we battled and fought as a group, collectively together as a team. For me, that was a step in the right direction for this group,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the victory. breaks down Wednesday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when: Leading by five with less than a minute to play, redshirt senior forward Jacob Kurtz hit two clutch free throws to push Florida ahead by seven. South Carolina responded with a corner three by Mindaugas Kacinas to cut its deficit to four with 34.1 remaining, and Kacinas hit another trey – following two free throws from redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith – to make it a three-point game. Junior guard Michael Frazier II then stepped up to hit two free throws to increase his team’s lead to five only to see freshman point guard Chris Chiozza foul the Gamecocks on a made layup, cutting UF’s advantage to two with 6.4 seconds left. Redshirt junior G Eli Carter was the last Florida player at the line, solidifying his team’s lead at four points with two made free throws; Kacinas missed another triple attempt at the buzzer. The Gators went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe over the final 43 seconds.

Significant stretch: Struggling early in the second half, Florida took advantage of a seven-minute field goal drought for South Carolina with a 13-2 run started by a game-tying triple from Frazier. The Gators used a trey by Finney-Smith and three free throws to take a 54-46 lead with less than nine minutes to play. UF held on to that advantage for most of the remainder of the game.

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Florida slides by South Carolina 72-68

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gameday: Florida Gators at South Carolina Gamecocks; Horford and Hodskins suspended

Location: Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, South Carolina [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Jon Sundvold)
Streaming Video: | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 93/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Martin
Record: 7-6 (0-0 SEC) Record: 9-3 (0-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Pick ‘Em | O/U 125

Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at South Carolina Gamecocks; Horford and Hodskins suspended

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida routs South Carolina 72-46 as Michael Frazier sets Gators threes record

Sophomore guard Michael Frazier II scored a career-high 37 points and set a new school record with 11 three-pointers in a single game as the No. 1 Florida Gators (28-2, 17-0 SEC) dismantled the South Carolina Gamecocks (11-19, 4-13 SEC) in the second half and ended the game on a 33-11 run on the way to a 72-46 win at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC on Tuesday night.

Florida extended its school-record winning streak to 22 games and continued a number of other program-best marks including winning 17 SEC games in a single season. breaks it all down with seven quick-hitters:

It was over when: After draining five three-pointers in the first half, Frazier was held without one for the first nine minutes of the second period. Suddenly, with his team leading by just four points, Frazier exploded with four made triples in a span of 3:27 to extend Florida’s advantage to 22 points with 7:36 to play.

Prominent player: He eventually finished with 11 threes, breaking a 17-year school school mark for most in a single game (Joe Lawrence, nine, 1986). Those 11 treys were also the third-most made in a single game by an SEC player and the most ever in an SEC league game. Frazier’s 37 points were a career-high, matching Joakim Noah (March 1, 2006) for most in a single game under head coach Billy Donovan. He finished 11-for-18 from beyond the arc on the evening, also becoming the first UF player since Anthony Roberson (2005) to attempt that many threes in a single contest.

“The ball felt good in warm-ups. My shot looked good, felt good. And then in the game, my teammates did a great job finding me. I was able to get in the zone there but I didn’t really feel anything, I was just there and the ball went in,” he said after the game. “It was a total team effort. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them finding me. It was a total team effort. We defended as a team, rebounded the ball as a team in the second half, and we were connected. The ball was just able to go into the hoop for me tonight, but it was a total team effort winning.”

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida routs South Carolina 72-46 as Michael Frazier sets Gators threes record

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No. 1 Florida at South Carolina preview: Gators ready for road tussle with confident Gamecocks

Location: Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, SC [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPNU (Joe Davis, Dino Gaudio)
SiriusXM: 93/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Martin
Record: 27-2 (16-0 SEC) Record: 11-18 (4-12 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -12 | O/U: OFF


» The Gators won the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title and clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament last Thursday after Kentucky lost and gave UF a four-game lead in the league standings with three contests left to play. It is the program’s second-straight title, third in the last four seasons, seventh overall and fifth outright.
» Florida leads South Carolina 41-22 in the all-time series and holds a 25-11 edge in the series with Donovan has coach. The Gators are 19-13 against the Gamecocks on the road (10-6 under Donovan) with victories in five-straight meetings and 12 of the last 15.
» UF defeated USC 74-58 back on Jan. 8. The teams play each other twice this season after not doing so in 2012-13.
» Donovan and Martin go back to the late 1990s when the then-young Florida head coach recruited Udonis Haslem, who played for Martin at Miami Senior High School. Since Martin first became a college head coach in 2007, Donovan is 3-0 all-time when the friends meet on the court.
» UF enters Tuesday’s game on a program-record 21-game winning streak and at 16-0 have set a school mark for most conference wins in a single season. Its 27 wins are also the most the Gators have captured in a single season.
» With a victory, Florida would become the fourth team in SEC history to win 17 league games and just the second all-time to hold a 17-0 SEC mark. If the Gators win their final two SEC games, they could become the first team to finish 18-0 in the league.
» Florida is also on two school-record home winning streaks – 31-straight overall and 16-in-a-row against league opponents.
» The Gators at 27-2 (16-0 SEC) have set a program mark for best overall start to a season. UF has also won 26 of its last 27 games.
» Florida has won eight-straight SEC road games, also a program record.
» The Gators are 78-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 13-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. Florida is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators are 10-2 in true road games this campaign with both losses coming against ranked opponents during the first month of the season. UF lost those contests by a combined seven points.
» This marks the latest in a regular season that Florida has been ranked No. 1 nationally. The Gators have achieved a No. 1 ranking in four separate seasons and is 17-5 playing as the top team in the country.
» South Carolina is 1-9 all-time against No. 1-ranked opponents with its only victory coming against Kentucky in 2010.
» The Gators’ senior class is the first in school history to win three SEC championships.

Continue Reading » No. 1 Florida at South Carolina preview: Gators ready for road tussle with confident Gamecocks

Tags: , , , ,

Florida halts road woes with win at South Carolina

It may have taken 20 minutes for the No. 19 Florida Gators to find some defensive intensity on Saturday, but once they did it was off to the races as Florida (14-4, 2-1 SEC) topped the South Carolina Gamecocks (8-9, 0-3 SEC) 79-65 to pick up their first true road victory of the season at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC.

With Gators sophomore center Patric Young coming off the bench due to tendinitis and an ankle injury, sophomore forward Will Yeguete stepped in and scored a career-high 14 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting with a team-high eight rebounds (four offensive).

Florida sophomore guard Kenny Boynton posted a team-high 15 points but was only 5-of-13 from the field, hitting 4-of-7 attempts from downtown while adding three boards and three dimes for the Gators. He and Yeguete were two of six Florida players (including all five starters) to score in double figures on the evening.

Junior F Erik Murphy got UF to a hot start, scoring the team’s first five points in 76 seconds. After USC evened the score out, the teams went back-and-forth for a few minutes until an 8-0 run put the Gators ahead 26-18 with 9:26 remaining until the break.

The Gamecocks provided their answer at the end of the half, using a 10-2 scoring advantage lasting over three minutes to take a 41-37 lead.

As the shot clock wound down on Florida’s final possession, Boynton nailed an off-balance trey as the buzzer sounded, leaving just five seconds remaining in the first half. It helped to negate South Carolina’s half-ending run, giving USC just a one-point lead as the teams headed into the locker rooms.

The Gators quickly retook the lead out of the break by scoring five points in 46 seconds and never bothered to look back. Already up one, Florida exploded on a 14-0 scoring stretch lasting 7:52 to jump ahead 59-44 more than midway through the second half.

Freshman G Bradley Beal posted eight of those 14 points by hitting two three-pointers and a pair of free throws during the impressive run.

The Gators and Gamecocks traded buckets the rest of the way as UF earned their first true road win of the season after dropping contests against Ohio State, Syracuse, Rutgers and Tennessee away from home.

Florida shot lights-out all evening from downtown, connecting on 12-of-23 attempts (52.2 percent) while also knocking in 25-of-47 shots (53.2 percent) from the field and hitting 17-of-21 tries (81.0 percent) from the free throw line.

The Gators’ defense held the Gamecocks to 41.1 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from three; however, USC outrebounded UF 28-25 in the game and 14-6 on the offensive glass while outscoring Florida 14-8 in the paint.

Beal added to the Gators’ totals with 14 points and six boards, Murphy chipped in 11 points and four assists, senior point guard Erving Walker was an efficient 3-of-5 (3-for-4 from downtown) with 11 points and seven assists, and redshirt junior G Mike Rosario scored 10 points with a pair of boards and dimes while played 19 minutes off the bench.

South Carolina G Bruce Ellington led the Gamecocks with 17 points.

Florida will have a full week to celebrate the victory as the Gators do not suit up again until they host LSU next Saturday in Gainesville, FL. The game will air live at 6 p.m. on FOX Sports Network (check your local listings).

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Gators get revenge with 79-60 win at Gamecocks

Looking to avenge their only Southeastern Conference East division loss of the season, the No. 17/19 Florida Gators (19-5, 8-2 SEC) traveled to Columbia, SC on a mission and took down the South Carolina Gamecocks (13-9, 4-5 SEC) 79-60 Wednesday evening at the Colonial Life Arena.

Junior point guard Erving Walker led the Gators with a season- and game-high 25 points, and senior forward Chandler Parsons added 14 points and 12 rebounds for his third-straight double-double and fourth in the last six games.

Florida started the game on a 9-0 run as South Carolina missed their first eight shots from the field. The Gamecocks answered back by scoring seven-straight points but failed to even-up with the Gators. UF closed the first half with an 8-0 run to take a 14-point lead and entered the locker rooms up 38-27 after USC hit a three toward the end of the half.

Though Florida outplayed South Carolina early on, both teams coughed up 10 turnovers; the Gators shot 60.7 percent from the floor while the Gamecocks only hit 39.3 percent of their attempts to start the game.

Florida kept their collective foot on the pedal in the second half, using a 9-2 run to jump ahead 53-35 with 13:58 left. The Gators would eventually take a game-high 19-point lead, 57-38, with 11:32 remaining and ended up tying that mark on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Kenny Boynton with the clock running down at the end of the game.

Walker scored his 25 points on 7-for-9 shooting and hit 4-of-5 attempts from downtown, while Parsons nearly had the team’s first triple-double since 2009 by also registering eight assists. Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, who made all six of his first-half shots for 14 points, finished with 16 to go along with six boards.

South Carolina G Bruce Ellington, who scored 23 points against Florida on Jan. 15, was held to a team-high 14 points on 6-of-19 shooting. F Sam Muldrow added 10 points and led the Gamecocks with six rebounds.

With their first win in Columbia since 2008, Florida has now defeated South Carolina in 21 of their last 27 meetings. Head coach Billy Donovan won his 350th career game in orange and blue Wednesday as he watched his team improve to 16-1 when holding opponents under 70 points this season. The victory over the Gamecocks also marks the first time the Gators have won six road games since the 2005-06 season.

Having now won 11 of their last 13 games, Florida returns home to face Tennessee on Saturday at 6 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN.

Photo Credit: Mary Ann Chastain/Associated Press

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Gamecocks rally in second half to top Gators 77-71

Devan Downey may be the South Carolina Gamecocks‘ star player, but fellow senior guard Brandis Raley-Ross stole the show Wednesday night in Columbia, SC. Raley-Ross’ 17 second half points and four three-pointers led the Gamecocks (14-9, 5-4 SEC) to a comeback 77-71 home victory over the Florida Gators (17-7, 6-4 SEC).

Though Florida only missed seven shots in the first half and was shooting 68.2 percent to 37.8 percent for South Carolina, an astounding 12 turnovers (including five in the first 4:17 of the game) left them with only a four-point lead at halftime.

This trend would continue after the break, with the Gators surrendering three turnovers in the first 4:30 of the second half and a five more before the final buzzer sounded. The Gamecocks were stingy, only giving up six all night compared to UF’s season-high 20.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida at South Carolina game story after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gamecocks rally in second half to top Gators 77-71

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gameday: Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks

Location: Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, SC [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 8:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network
Online Video: ESPN360
Live Updates: OGGOA on Twitter

Florida Gators South Carolina Gamecocks
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Darrin Horn
Record: 17-6, 5-3 SEC Record: 13-9, 4-4 SEC
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: South Carolina -1.5, O/U 138.5

» The dynamic backcourt of…sophomore point guard Erving Walker and freshman guard Kenny Boynton who are averaging and controlling the backcourt 31.0 points and 7.9 assists per game in conference play this season.
» Speaking of Walker and Boynton…they have hit 46 of the Gators’ 59 treys in SEC play.
» Junior forward Alex Tyus…who is dominating the front court, averaging 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds over the last 14 contests. He has hit double figures in 13 of 14 games and scored 15+ in eight of those.
» The triumvirate of Walker, Boynton and Tyus…is combining for 45.7 of Florida’s 71.9 points per game in SEC play (63.6 percent).
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 11-1 when the redshirt junior transfer center does so. He scored a career-high 20 points in Florida’s last game.
» Gamecocks senior guard Devan Downey leads his team in points (23.0) and assists (3.5) while averaging an amazing 30.9 points per game in conference play. He currently ranks first in the SEC in points, steals and free throws. Downey dominated the Gators with 36 points just a month ago.

» Florida leads the all-time series against South Carolina 36-20. The Gators have won the last two meetings and 20 of the last 24 in the series.
» Under head coach Billy Donovan, Florida is 20-9 against the Gamecocks; however, they lost 70-69 when they visited Colonial Life Arena in 2009.
» Over the last three seasons, no UF/USC game has been decided by more than four points, and nine of the last 11 meetings have been decided by six points or less.
» The Gators are 5-3 in games decided by five points or less compared to 4-6 in such games last season. Florida is 4-1 in the last five contests that were that close.
» UF is 6-0 in conference play when out-rebounding an opponent. The Gators have a +7.2 rebounding margin in their SEC wins and a -5.3 margin in all three losses.
» All five of Florida’s starters are averaging double-digits in points and are within 4.0 points of each other.
» South Carolina has a win over then-No. 1 Kentucky on its resume and is averaging 73.7 points per game on the season.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,